Inside recent weeks, many countries world wide and even a few of our neighbouring Caribbean islands have signalled their intent to “live with COVID-19”.
Many have dropped or modified their travel protocols while others have ditched all COVID-19 restrictions they’d have implemented over the past two or more years.
Internationally, Britain days ago announced that every one remaining COVID-19 travel measures can be scrapped. It signifies that passengers who should not fully vaccinated will not need to take COVID tests before and after travelling to the UK. The passenger locator form will not be essential either. A BBC report stated that Scotland and Wales have agreed to follow England in scrapping the remaining COVID-19 border measures.
Over in New Zealand, where restrictions were at their tightest previously two years, there are plans to reopen the borders to international travellers.
Australians can be allowed to enter the country while not having to quarantine or isolate from April 13. Fully-vaccinated travellers from about 60 countries on a visa-waiver list will give you the option to reach from May 2 although all arrivals may have to point out a negative COVID test. People from outside the visa waiver list can be eligible to enter the country from May 1.
On Thursday, the Italian government announced plans to phase out its own restrictions by May 1.
Aside from significant changes to travel which is able to profit the airline and cruise sectors, some territories have seemingly made an about-turn because it pertains to the unvaccinated of their societies.
France lifted most COVID-19 restrictions on Monday, abolishing the necessity to wear face masks in most settings and allowing individuals who aren’t vaccinated back into restaurants, sports arenas and other venues. The French aren’t required anymore to point out proof of vaccination to enter places like restaurants and bars, cinemas, theatres, fairs, and to make use of interregional transport, albeit those changes coming lower than a month before the primary round of the presidential election scheduled for April 10.
At the tip of February, New York City, the primary US metropolis to require vaccinations for individuals at indoor public facilities, lifted its mandate for indoor businesses, dining and events. New York City first announced the mandate in August, requiring patrons to point out proof of vaccination. That requirement applied to restaurants, bars, nightclubs, coffee shops, fast food eateries, indoor fitness locations, movie theatres, music and concert venues, museums, sports arenas and stadiums, theatres and billiard halls, amongst other places. Every New Yorker is now free to enjoy their city without fear or favour.
One among the key casualties and national talking points in regards to the New York mandate is NBA superstar Kyrie Irving who plays for the Brooklyn Nets.
Irving, who refused to take the vaccine, was not allowed to play, practise or enter the power in New York where his team is predicated, due to mandate. He could only play in games away in other states, and in consequence, he lost about $10 million in salary. Yet he still wouldn’t take the jab.
On Sunday, the Black player, who’s of native Indian heritage, was a spectator at a game between the New York Knicks and the Nets, given the lift within the ban against the unvaccinated. Nonetheless, he still can’t play in New York because the city’s private sector mandate remains to be in effect. Perhaps, someone somewhere believes he adds more value to town as a spectator than a player.
Closer home, our neighbour St Vincent and the Grenadines, which was adamant last yr that every one public sector staff be vaccinated, allowed some unvaccinated everlasting sanitation staff to return to work, after being off the job for 3 months in consequence of the federal government’s COVID-19 vaccine policy. The move to incorporate the unvaccinated is heartening, given the bloody divide the problem caused in St Vincent and internationally.
On Wednesday, Antigua and Barbuda dropped their mask-wearing mandate and are actually allowing unvaccinated residents to return home. On Thursday, Jamaica announced that every one COVID-19 measures can be dropped on Friday.
Here in Barbados, there was much talk in regards to the mask-less Brits attending the Test Match at Kensington Oval. Our country’s protocols state clearly that mask-wearing in public spaces is mandatory. Yet, that is the second occasion that the Barmy Army has descended and ignored our COVID-19 measures. It’s then comprehensible why the typical Bajan and the Barbados Association of Medical Practitioners are speaking out in condemnation.
The Barbados Cricket Association urged all who’re attending the games to comply. But given what is going on globally and even regionally, it could just be a matter of time before the Ministry of Health decides to put off mask-wearing and other measures.
While we profess to “follow the science” it is not any secret that every country has to get on with the business of rebuilding lives and restoring economies. We cannot pretend that tourism is an option. All of us understand it is essentially the most vital sector for many countries in our region.
Satirically, in recent times, no tourist has been brought before the law courts for breach of the protocols. The authorities need to be wary of the mixed messages.
Sooner slightly than later, some tough decisions may have to be made. We cannot have Bajans, for essentially the most part, complying with the COVID-19 protocols while allowing cricket fans at Kensington, tourists gathered at Oistins Fish Market, and visitors shopping at Limegrove Lifestyle Centre
to repeatedly flout our laws.
Hopefully, this example will come to a head in time for the expected 1000’s who will come to our shores for the summer period. Or, it would simply be a case of when money talks, protocols walk.